As one of Ukip's biggest donors, Stuart Wheeler is helping fund a revolution

But what do we actually know about the exceedingly right-wing septuagenarian?

Share

Once upon a time at the Clermont Club in Mayfair, chaps who were willing trade fortunes on the turn of a card from the baccarat shoe talked of revolution.

Exactly how serious Jimmy Goldsmith, John Aspinall and their gambling chums were, back in the mid-1970s era of industrial unrest, about replacing Harold Wilson’s Labour government with a Francoist military regime remains difficult to gauge.

Yet while their plottings were probably no more than a deranged amusement for Bond villain fantasists, 40 years later a modified version of that pipe dream appears.

Stuart Wheeler, the exceedingly right-wing old cove who uses his spread-betting fortune to bankroll Ukip, may not have been one of the coup d’état schemers.

But he was a member of the Clermont gang, and as the person thought to be the chief facilitator of Douglas Carswell’s defection from the Tories, we now find him playing a pivotal part in realigning British politics in a way that Goldsmith and his Referendum Party did not.

Beyond a talent for cards, his siring of the model Jacquetta, and the rabid Europhobia, little is known about Mr Wheeler. He is said to be as charming as he is shy, yet this is no time for reticence.

Mr Wheeler has used his cash to nurture a populist political movement that seems likely, assuming Mr Carswell takes Clacton, to open a schism in the British right that could change the course of history.

So it would be awfully nice if Mr Wheeler briefly jettisoned the unseen role of No 1 in SPECTRE, and popped into the sunlight to have a chat about his political beliefs.

If Ukip is the democratic force it claims to be, he might care to explain the anomaly that a populist, anti-establishment, jellied-eels revolution in Clacton was hatched in Mayfair, where he continues to wine and dine potential Tory defectors.

Will Nigel Farage call Zac Goldsmith’s bluff?

Might the delectable Ukip-Mayfair  casino chain be strengthened by another link? Among those suspected of flirting with a Carswellian switch is Zac Goldsmith, son of the late Jimmy. who like his old man is known to enjoy the odd game of cards (and I once watched him playing roulette alone on the Aspinall’s cigar-smoking terrace).

While the cerebral likes of Nadine Dorries and Philip Davies have protested their loyalty to the Conservatives, despite their blood clearly running purple, Zac is the one potential renegade to admit he might be willing to jump ship – though only, he says, “if Ukip entirely embraced the environmental agenda”.

It’s quite a stretch imagining Stuart Wheeler and Nigel Farage agreeing to that, while the Ukip electorate remains unpersuaded that climate change exists. But if they mischievously announced an electoral pact with the Green Party, it would be intriguing to see how Zac responded to the calling of his bluff.

Boris is too smart to fall  into Clacton trap

These are not words that come easily, but I feel a stab of sympathy for Boris Johnson.

Whether or not they are acting in league with the Tory high command, the Telegraph’s Peter Oborne and the Spectator editor Fraser Nelson – two influential Tory pundits – have called on that good man Boris to come to the aid of the party by taking on Douglas Carswell.

They point out that he would be the Tory saviour were he to kill the Ukip momentum by winning Clacton, which is true; and they affect to regard it as his duty, which is not true.

With an opinion poll showing a 44-point Carswell lead in Clacton, the momentum Messrs Cameron and Osborne really want killed, you must suspect, is Boris’s.

While he is far too smart to walk into such a blatant trap, it’s a bit rich of them to lay the ground to paint Boris as a selfish coward for refusing a kamikaze mission that would only benefit Ukip and George Osborne’s leadership ambitions. Poor show.

Nothing like a good old-fashioned exposé

Anyone concerned that The Sun on Sunday has moulded itself into a depressingly good-natured and unprurient successor to the News of the World will have been reassured by yesterday’s splash. It concerned the “gay drug romps shame” of the broadcaster Paul Ross.

Pictured looking lost in guilt beside his distressed wife, Mr Ross “confessed” to a mephedrone-fuelled relationship with a man. How the paper came by this interview is anyone’s guess.

READ MORE:
David Cameron is exploiting our fears so that he can take away our freedom
The Stop the War Coalition should do us all a favour and disband  

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - Media Sales - £36,000 OTE

£28000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning company, whi...

Recruitment Genius: C# .NET Developer / Application Support - Junior

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This business has an industry r...

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: They make daily deliveries to most foodservice...

Recruitment Genius: Transport Planner

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: They make daily deliveries to most foodservice...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A young person in the UK is now twice as likely to be poor as a pensioner  

Britain is no country for the young – in jobs, income or housing

Ben Chu
LaGuardia Airport: a relic from a different, gentler age  

New York's LaGuardia Airport to be rebuilt: It could become the best gateway to America

Simon Calder
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash